Bad news for Marina Bay businesses: the much-anticipated reopening of Marina Bay Parkway between Meeker Avenue and Regatta Boulevard is facing a delay.
The parkway was closed Sept. 3 due to construction of the Officer Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass, which will allow traffic to flow under existing railroad tracks, thus preventing delays from passing trains. Several Marina Bay businesses have reported a loss of customers as a result of the road closure. They were assured the roadway would be reopened in 18 months.
But the road may be closed for a longer period, according to city officials, because AT&T has been slow to relocate utility lines. During the last six months, the company has pushed back the deadline for completion of the work numerous times, said Chad Smalley, a project manager for the Successor Agency to the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency.
The latest delay could prolong the closure of the parkway because city crews can no longer work around the unfinished utility project, Smalley said.
“The last delay was such that we pulled the crews,” he said.
AT&T, which must pay for the utility relocation work, has told the city that the job will be completed by the end of March, but Smalley remains skeptical.
“They seem incapable of accurately determining how long it will take,” he said.
AT&T spokesman Alex Clare said Tuesday the company remains committed to the March deadline.
“Since the construction and relocation of our phone lines affects phone service for our customers, our construction schedule balances the needs of AT&T users locally with those of roadway users,” he said in a statement.
Smalley said he’s not interested in assigning blame.
“I’ve wanted to keep the focus on getting the job done,” he said.
Once AT&T relocates the utility lines, the city will search for ways to accelerate construction. The $27 million underpass is scheduled to take a total of 27 months, with some work occurring after the parkway is reopened.
“We may be able to make up some time,” Smalley said.